A geocoded data structure is a means for digitally representing a geographically referenced map or image. The characteristics of representative cellular, linked, and hybrid geocoded data structures are reviewed. The data processing requirements of Earth science projects at the Goddard Space Flight Center and the basic tools of geographic data processing are described. Specific ways that new geocoded data structures can be used to adapt these tools to scientists' needs are presented. These include: expanding analysis and modeling capabilities; simplifying the merging of data sets from diverse sources; and saving computer storage space.